South Sudan plans to sell 6.4 million barrels of oil worth $300 million before shutting down its entire production by the end of July due to a row over its alleged support for rebels in neighboring Sudan, its oil minister said on Saturday.
Sudan, the sole conduit for South Sudan’s oil exports, said a month ago it would close two cross-border oil pipelines within 60 days and insisted output be shut by August 7 unless South Sudan gave up support for the rebels. Juba denies backing insurgents.
The shutdown is bad news for both countries, which fought one of Africa’s longest civil wars before separating in 2011.
Diplomats worry South Sudan might collapse without oil, the main source for the budget apart from foreign grants. They point to recent looting of aid agencies by soldiers as a sign that Juba is struggling to pay salaries.
Closing the wells is also grave news for Sudan, which has been struggling with turmoil since losing most oil reserves with South Sudan’s secession. Oil fees from Juba are essential to bringing down soaring inflation, which stokes dissent.
Read more at Reuters.